Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20100227675 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/716,573
Publication dateSep 9, 2010
Filing dateMar 3, 2010
Priority dateMar 6, 2009
Also published asUS8439747, US9280875, US20120015715, US20130217479
Publication number12716573, 716573, US 2010/0227675 A1, US 2010/227675 A1, US 20100227675 A1, US 20100227675A1, US 2010227675 A1, US 2010227675A1, US-A1-20100227675, US-A1-2010227675, US2010/0227675A1, US2010/227675A1, US20100227675 A1, US20100227675A1, US2010227675 A1, US2010227675A1
InventorsMichael Arieh Luxton, Matthew Adam Ocko, Mark Jonathan Pincus, Carl Eric Schiermeyer, Stephen Henry Schoettler
Original AssigneeZynga Game Network, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Virtual Playing Chips in a Multiuser Online Game Network
US 20100227675 A1
Abstract
In various embodiments, virtual currency is used within a multiplayer online game in a restricted manner.
Images(12)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(20)
1. A method, comprising:
receiving, at a server, a purchase order for virtual currency from a player, wherein the purchase order was made with legal currency, and wherein the virtual currency is usable within the context of a computer-implemented game;
crediting an account of the player with virtual currency, wherein the virtual currency is not redeemable for legal currency;
receiving a second purchase order for a virtual object within the context of the computer-implemented game from the player, wherein the second purchase order was made with virtual currency; and
debiting the account of the player based on the second purchase order.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the computer-implemented game is a gambling game.
3. The method of claim 2 wherein the virtual currency comprises a plurality of virtual playing chips.
4. The method of claim 2 further comprising receiving wagers from the player identifying an amount of virtual currency wagered as part of a game event within the context of the computer-implemented gambling game.
5. The method of claim 4 further comprising debiting or crediting the account of the player based on an outcome of the game event.
6. A method, comprising:
receiving, at a server, a first purchase order for virtual currency from a first player, wherein the first purchase order is made with legal currency, and wherein the virtual currency is usable within the context of a computer-implemented game;
crediting an account of the first player with virtual currency, wherein the virtual currency is not redeemable for legal currency.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein the computer-implemented game is a gambling game and the virtual currency comprises a plurality of virtual playing chips.
8. The method of claim 7, further comprising:
receiving, at a server, a wager of virtual currency from the first player;
resolving the wager within the context of the gambling game according to a game logic;
crediting the account of the first player in reaction to the resolution of the wager.
9. The method of claim 6, further comprising:
receiving a second purchase order for a virtual item within the context of the computer-implemented game from the first player, wherein the second purchase order is made with virtual currency;
debiting the account of the first player based on the second purchase order.
10. The method of claim 9, further comprising:
associating the virtual item with the first player or with a second player.
11. The method of claim 6, further comprising:
receiving, at the server, a request to gift an amount of virtual currency from the first player to a second player;
accessing social network information of the first player to verify a social connection to the second player;
transferring the amount of virtual currency from the first player to the second player if the social connection is verified.
12. An apparatus comprising:
one or more processors; and a memory coupled to the processors comprising instructions executable by the processors, the processors operable when executing the instructions to:
receive a first purchase order for virtual currency from a first player, wherein the first purchase order is made with legal currency, and wherein the virtual currency is usable within the context of a computer-implemented game;
credit an account of the first player with virtual currency, wherein the virtual currency is not redeemable for legal currency.
13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the processors are further operable when executing the instructions to:
receive a wager of virtual currency from the first player, wherein the computer-implemented game is a gambling game and the virtual currency comprises a plurality of virtual playing chips;
resolve the wager within the context of the gambling game according to a game logic;
credit the account of the first player based on resolution of the wager.
14. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the processors are further operable when executing the instructions to:
receive a second purchase order for a virtual item within the context of the computer-implemented game from the first player, wherein the second purchase order is made with virtual currency;
debit the account of the first player based on the second purchase order.
15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the processors are further operable when executing the instructions to:
associate the virtual item with the first player or with a second player.
16. A method, comprising:
receiving, at a server, a request to gift an in-game value from a first player to a second player;
accessing social network information of the first player to verify a social connection to the second player;
transferring an in-game value from the first player to the second player if the social connection is verified.
17. The method of claim 16 wherein the in-game value comprises virtual currency.
18. The method of claim 16 wherein the in-game value comprises a virtual object.
19. The method of claim 17 further comprising enforcing a maximum amount of virtual currency that can be gifted from the first player to the second player.
20. The method of claim 17 further comprising enforcing a maximum frequency at which virtual currency can be transferred by the first player to the second player.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/158,246 filed Mar. 6, 2009, which is incorporated by reference herein for all purposes.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • [0002]
    The present disclosure relates to multiuser online games in general, and in particular to games that track a store of in-game value for players.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0003]
    Multiuser online games are popular and are well-known in the art. In some implementations, there is a server that controls aspects of the game, such as who can become a player (i.e., a user that connects via a client device, computer or system to the server), the player's sensory inputs, player state (e.g., what virtual items the player's character possesses, what the character has done in the past, etc.), and player options (e.g., what the player or his character can do in the future).
  • [0004]
    Some multiuser online games are styled as, or after, casino gambling games (e.g., poker, roulette, slot machines, etc.). In a gambling game, players generally obtain virtual currency for their character's use in the gambling game. In some gambling games, players purchase virtual currency in exchange for legal currency, where the legal currency is transferred using a credit/debit/charge card transaction conveyed over a financial network. In such games, the virtual currency might be represented by virtual poker chips or by a number or value stored by the server for that player's benefit. A player would then interact with the game server such that the player (or a character controlled by the player) plays a gambling game in hopes of increasing the amount of virtual currency the character has so that the player can then “cash out” and receive, from the operator of the gambling game server, real-world currency corresponding to the gains that player made in the online gambling game.
  • [0005]
    Aside from the online aspect of this, such interactions are similar to a conventional casino transaction, wherein a player enters a casino, converts real-world currency (cash, check, credit card transaction) into chips, plays gambling games with those chips and cashes in those chips for real-world currency. Of course, with actual casinos and online casinos, activities are regulated by law and banned in certain jurisdictions.
  • [0006]
    There are online games that have virtual currency that is earned by taking actions in the game. For example, a dragon fighting game might reward 10 gold coins each time a dragon is successfully slayed. Some virtual-to-real economies have developed around the real-world sale and purchase of game items. For example, where a desired level, access, right, or item in an online game is a reward for many hours of playing the game and someone desires to obtain that without playing the game for hours, they might enter into a transaction with someone willing to sell that right. For example, a player having virtual goods he wants to sell might list those on an online auction site, and then agree to an arrangement with a buyer to have funds transferred from the buyer to the player/seller, then have the player/seller's character in the game hand the items to the buyer's character in the game.
  • [0007]
    In the case of gambling-type games, the ability to simply “cash out” by selling to the game operator would, in many jurisdictions, constitute regulated (and possibly illegal) gambling. Furthermore, permitting one player to effectively “cash out” by selling to another player may also run afoul of gambling laws or regulations. Consequently, in some cases, players want to play gambling-style games, but without the regulated gambling aspects.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0008]
    FIG. 1 illustrates an example network environment.
  • [0009]
    FIG. 2 illustrates an example computer system architecture.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 3 is a schematic view of a webpage for accessing online virtual poker.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 4 is a schematic view of a webpage for selecting an amount of virtual currency to purchase.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 5 is a schematic view of a webpage for inputting a player's personal and financial information.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 6 is a schematic view of a webpage for confirming the purchase of virtual poker chips and the payment of legal currency.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 7 shows a flowchart illustrating an example method for purchasing virtual currency.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 8 is a schematic view of a webpage for playing online virtual poker with a plurality of players.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 9 is a schematic view of a webpage for selecting and purchasing virtual items with virtual currency.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 10 is a schematic view of a webpage for playing online virtual poker wherein the players are associated with virtual items.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 11 shows a flowchart illustrating an example method for purchasing virtual items with virtual currency.
  • DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS Non-Redeemable Virtual Currency
  • [0019]
    In embodiments of a multiplayer online game system, players within the game can acquire virtual currency. Such virtual currency represents units of value for use in the online game system, and is analogous to legal currency. Virtual currency can be purchased in one or more actual cash or credit transactions by a player. However, the virtual currency cannot be redeemed for legal currency. Consequently, the purchase is a one-way transaction that provides a benefit to the purchaser only in the context of the virtual environment. Virtual currency can also be earned within the context of the game. For example, a player may be rewarded with one or more units of virtual currency after completing a task, quest, challenge, or mission within the game. One advantage of the approached described herein is that virtual currency can be used to purchase virtual items, but neither the virtual currency nor the virtual items can be transferred or redeemed in such a way that would be considered gambling proceeds.
  • [0020]
    Virtual currency can be used in multiplayer online games accessed via social networking servers. For example, social games such as Zynga Poker and Farmville offered by Zynga Game Network, Inc. of San Francisco, Calif. are examples of such games. In order to prevent fraud or other terms of service violations (e.g., the exchange of virtual currency for legal currency between players), a fraud detection system can be used to block such consummations, thereby defeating the market for secret transactions.
  • Non-Redeemable Virtual Poker Chips
  • [0021]
    In some embodiments, non-redeemable virtual currency is represented by virtual poker chips. Virtual poker chips are units of value for use in a virtual online multiplayer poker game. Within the context of a multiplayer online poker game, virtual poker chips are analogous to real world poker chips. Virtual poker chips can be purchased in one or more actual cash or credit transactions by a player of such virtual poker game, as well as acquired from other parties by winning a hand in such virtual poker game or playing other games against other players (or between the players' characters in the game). Virtual poker chips can be used within the context of the virtual poker game to purchase virtual items. For example, a player can buy virtual drinks or other items for one or more other players to support their online social activities. However, unlike real world poker chips, virtual poker chips are not redeemable for legal currency. Similarly, virtual items purchased with virtual poker chips are not redeemable for legal currency.
  • [0022]
    In some embodiments, the virtual poker chips can have a unique game play mechanism. In one example embodiment, a first player can make transfers or gifts of virtual poker chips to a second player. However, to prevent fraud or other terms of service violations (e.g., the transfer of legal currency between players outside the context of the virtual poker game in exchange for the transfer of virtual poker chips within the virtual poker game), in-game transfers and gifts can be limited. These transfers and gifts can be limited in size (e.g., no more than 10,000 chips per transfer) and/or frequency (e.g., no more than one transfer per day). Furthermore, transfers can be limited to players who are friends or otherwise connected within the context of an online social network (e.g., transfers are only allowed between players who are also “friends” on Facebook (r)). Fraud detection systems can be used to prevent fraudulent transactions.
  • [0023]
    In another example embodiment, certain levels of purchases of virtual poker chips can correlate to the privilege to play with higher skilled or higher status players, not just players with similar amounts of chips. Thus, purchased virtual chips and won virtual chips might be treated differently and provide different access to the holder of such virtual chips. This mechanism allows new entrants to the game who are skilled in the real world or alternate online venues to play with players of similar skill without waiting to win multiple games/acquire status within the context of the virtual poker game. In another example, multiple types of virtual poker chips may be available for purchase from the game operator.
  • [0024]
    Some embodiments also include the use of virtual poker chips not just in poker, but in other online games as well, such as blackjack, keno and other casino-style gambling games.
  • Purchasing Non-Redeemable Virtual Poker Chips
  • [0025]
    In some embodiments, virtual poker chips can be purchased online. One such embodiment is described in reference to FIGS. 3-7. FIG. 7 shows a flowchart illustrating an example method for purchasing virtual currency. FIG. 3 illustrates a webpage for accessing a fully operational online poker game according to embodiments of the present disclosure. This online poker game can either be accessed directly, or it can be embedded within the webpage of a social networking site. The illustrated page serves as a portal for accessing various features of the online poker game. In various embodiments, the website can include a hyperlink for accessing a webpage for purchasing virtual poker chips.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 4 illustrates a webpage for purchasing virtual poker chips according to embodiments of the present disclosure. This page can be hosted by the online game server or another internet server. This page can include fields for selecting an amount of virtual poker chips to purchase and for selecting legal currency payment options (e.g., credit card, PayPal(r), bank draft, ACH, etc.). Once the necessary selections are made, the webpage can take the player to another webpage on the same server or a separate server to complete the purchase.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 5 illustrates a webpage for inputting a player's personal and financial information to authorize the transfer of legal currency for the purchase of virtual poker chips according to embodiments of the present disclosure. This page can include fields for inputting a player's name, address, and credit card information. Alternatively, the player can already have a pre-established account where their personal and financial information is stored. Once the necessary information is inputted, the player can place the order to purchase virtual currency. This order is received by the server 702, which can then process the order. If the order is processed successfully, the player's game account can be credited with the amount of virtual poker chips ordered. For example, if the player uses a credit card account, the server may credit the users account with the amount of virtual chips ordered upon receiving the purchase order, receiving an authorization from a transaction processing network, or receiving final settlement of the funds.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 6 illustrates a webpage for confirming the purchase of virtual poker chips and the payment of legal currency. This page can include fields displaying the amount of legal currency the player has just paid and the amount of virtual poker chips the player has just purchased. This page can also include fields displaying the details of the legal currency payment method used and a confirmation number for the specific transaction. From this point, the player can choose to return to the virtual poker game or to purchase more virtual poker chips.
  • [0029]
    In some embodiments, a first player can make transfers or gifts of virtual items to a second player. However, to prevent fraud or other terms of service violations (e.g., the transfer of legal currency between players outside the context of the virtual poker game in exchange for the transfer of virtual items within the virtual poker game), in-game transfers and gifts can be limited. These transfers and gifts can be limited in size (e.g., no more than one item per transfer) and/or frequency (e.g., no more than one transfer per day). Furthermore, transfers can be limited to players who are friends or otherwise connected within the context of an online social network (e.g., transfers are only allowed between players who are also “friends” on Facebook (r)). For example, a game server, prior to allowing the gift or transfer, may access a social network to match the player wishing to gift an in-game value (e.g., currency, virtual objects, etc.) to another player. Social network platforms support APIs that allow for third-party applications to verify connections by providing one or more user identifiers associated with such players. Fraud detection systems can be used to prevent fraudulent transactions.
  • [0000]
    Purchasing Virtual Items with Virtual Poker Chips
  • [0030]
    In some embodiments, virtual poker chips can be used to purchase virtual items online. One such embodiment is described in reference to FIGS. 8-11. FIG. 11 shows a flowchart illustrating an example method for purchasing virtual items using virtual poker chips. FIG. 8 illustrates a webpage of a virtual online poker game with a plurality of players according to embodiments of the present disclosure. This online poker game can be accessed directly, or it can be embedded within the webpage of a social networking site. The illustrated page shows a virtual poker table, a virtual poker dealer, an icon of a first player and icons of a plurality of other players (“player icons”), the cards the first player is holding, the amount of virtual poker chips held by each player, the size of each player's bet, and the size of the pot for the current hand of poker. Associated with each player icon is an item icon where one or more virtual items associated with the player can be displayed. The page includes a separate hyperlink or other activatable user interface element for accessing a user interface for purchasing virtual items. In an alternative embodiment, the first player can access the user interface for purchasing virtual items by selecting the item icon for any player.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 9 illustrates a webpage where virtual items can be selected and purchased. The illustrated page shows a variety of virtual items that can be selected. Each virtual item displays the number of virtual poker chips needed to purchase it. Some virtual items can be purchased permanently, meaning the item stays associated with the player in perpetuity. Other items are not permanent when purchased, meaning the item stays associated with the player for a limited duration (e.g., the item stays associated with the player as long as he remains at that virtual poker table, or as long as the player remains logged in to the virtual poker game). In some embodiments, items can remain associated with a player across games (e.g., if a player buys a box of cigars in a virtual online poker game, such as Zynga Poker, that item can remain associated with the player if he/she logs into a virtual online role-playing game, such as Zynga Mafia Wars).
  • [0032]
    From the page illustrated in FIG. 9, a player can select an item to purchase. A player can also select whether to purchase the item for himself, or for one or more other players (e.g., the player can select to purchase the item for all players at the virtual poker table, or for the player's friends who are playing virtual poker at other virtual poker tables). Once the necessary selections are made, the player can place the order to purchase the virtual item. This order is received by the server 1102, which can then process the order. If the order is processed successfully, the player's game account can be debited by the amount of virtual poker chips needed to buy the virtual items selected 1104. In the example illustrated, the first player selected to purchase a glass of wine for each player at the table.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 10 illustrates the same virtual online poker game as illustrated in FIG. 8. Once a first player completes the purchase of a virtual item, the virtual item can then be associated with the first player or another player 1106. In the illustrated example, the amount of virtual poker chips held by the first player has been decremented, and each player at the virtual poker table now has a virtual glass of wine associated with them. From this point 1108, the player can choose to continue playing virtual poker or to purchase more virtual items.
  • Systems and Methods
  • [0034]
    In various example embodiments, one or more described webpages and functionality discussed above may be associated with a network gaming system or network gaming service. In one implementation, the virtual poker game can be implemented using FLASH(r)-based technologies. For example, the virtual poker game can be fully or partially implemented as a SWF object that is embedded in a web page and executable by a Flash(r) media player plug-in.
  • [0035]
    Particular embodiments may operate in a wide area network environment, such as the Internet, including multiple network addressable systems. FIG. 1 illustrates an example network environment, in which various example embodiments may operate. Network cloud 160 generally represents one or more interconnected networks, over which the systems and hosts described herein can communicate. Network cloud 160 may include packet-based wide area networks (such as the Internet), private networks, wireless networks, satellite networks, cellular networks, paging networks, and the like. As FIG. 1 illustrates, particular embodiments may operate in a network environment comprising one or more network gaming systems 120 and one or more client devices 130. Client devices 130 are operably connected to the network environment via a network service provider, a wireless carrier, or any other suitable means.
  • [0036]
    Network gaming system 120 is a network addressable system that, in various example embodiments, comprises one or more physical servers 122 and data store 124. The one or more physical servers 122 are operably connected to computer network 160 via, by way of example, a set of routers and/or networking switches 126. In an example embodiment, the functionality hosted by the one or more physical servers 122 may include web or HTTP servers, FTP servers, as well as, without limitation, webpages and applications implemented using Common Gateway Interface (CGI) script, PHP Hyper-text Preprocessor (PHP), Active Server Pages (ASP), Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML), Extensible Markup Language (XML), Java, JavaScript, Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX), Flash, ActionScript, and the like.
  • [0037]
    Physical servers 122 may host functionality directed to the operations of network gaming system 120. Hereinafter servers 122 may be referred to as server 122, although server 122 may include numerous servers hosting, for example, network gaming system 120, as well as other content distribution servers, data stores, and databases. Data store 124 may store content and data relating to, and enabling, operation of the network gaming system 120 as digital data objects. A data object, in particular implementations, is an item of digital information typically stored or embodied in a data file, database or record. Content objects may take many forms, including: text (e.g., ASCII, SGML, HTML), images (e.g., jpeg, tif and gif), graphics (vector-based or bitmap), audio, video (e.g., mpeg), or other multimedia, and combinations thereof. Content object data may also include executable code objects (e.g., games executable within a browser window or frame), podcasts, etc. Logically, data store 124 corresponds to one or more of a variety of separate and integrated databases, such as relational databases and object-oriented databases, that maintain information as an integrated collection of logically related records or files stored on one or more physical systems. Structurally, data store 124 may generally include one or more of a large class of data storage and management systems. In particular embodiments, data store 124 may be implemented by any suitable physical system(s) including components, such as one or more database servers, mass storage media, media library systems, storage area networks, data storage clouds, and the like. In one example embodiment, data store 124 includes one or more servers, databases (e.g., MySQL), and/or data warehouses. Data store 124 may include data associated with different network gaming system 120 users and/or client devices 130.
  • [0038]
    Client device 130 is generally a computer or computing device including functionality for communicating (e.g., remotely) over a computer network. Client device 130 may be a desktop computer, laptop computer, personal digital assistant (PDA), in- or out-of-car navigation system, smart phone or other cellular or mobile phone, or mobile gaming device, among other suitable computing devices. Client device 130 may execute one or more client applications, such as a web browser (e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera, etc.) and plug-ins and/or other extensions (e.g, Flash(r) Media Player), to access content over a computer network. In other implementations, client device 130 may host a special-purpose client application that is specifically adapted to access network gaming system 120 in order to access a network game, such as a virtual poker game.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 2 illustrates an example computing system architecture, which may be used to implement a server 122 or a client device 130. In one embodiment, hardware system 200 comprises a processor 202, a cache memory 204, and one or more executable modules and drivers, stored on a tangible computer readable medium, directed to the functions described herein. Additionally, hardware system 200 may include a high performance input/output (I/O) bus 206 and a standard I/O bus 208. A host bridge 210 may couple processor 202 to high performance I/O bus 206, whereas I/O bus bridge 212 couples the two buses 206 and 208 to each other. A system memory 214 and one or more network/communication interfaces 216 couple to bus 206. Hardware system 200 may further include video memory (not shown) and a display device coupled to the video memory. Mass storage 218, and I/O ports 220 couple to bus 208. Hardware system 200 may optionally include a keyboard and pointing device, and a display device (not shown) coupled to bus 208. Collectively, these elements are intended to represent a broad category of computer hardware systems, including but not limited to general purpose computer systems based on the x86-compatible processors manufactured by Intel Corporation of Santa Clara, Calif., and the x86-compatible processors manufactured by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., as well as any other suitable processor.
  • [0040]
    The elements of hardware system 200 are described in greater detail below. In particular, network interface 216 provides communication between hardware system 200 and any of a wide range of networks, such as an Ethernet (e.g., IEEE 802.3) network, a backplane, etc. Mass storage 218 provides permanent storage for the data and programming instructions to perform the above-described functions implemented in servers 122, whereas system memory 214 (e.g., DRAM) provides temporary storage for the data and programming instructions when executed by processor 202. I/O ports 220 are one or more serial and/or parallel communication ports that provide communication between additional peripheral devices, which may be coupled to hardware system 200.
  • [0041]
    Hardware system 200 may include a variety of system architectures; and various components of hardware system 200 may be rearranged. For example, cache 204 may be on-chip with processor 202. Alternatively, cache 204 and processor 202 may be packed together as a “processor module,” with processor 202 being referred to as the “processor core.” Furthermore, certain embodiments of the present disclosure may not require nor include all of the above components. For example, the peripheral devices shown coupled to standard I/O bus 208 may couple to high performance I/O bus 206. In addition, in some embodiments, only a single bus may exist, with the components of hardware system 200 being coupled to the single bus. Furthermore, hardware system 200 may include additional components, such as additional processors, storage devices, or memories.
  • [0042]
    An operating system manages and controls the operation of hardware system 200, including the input and output of data to and from software applications (not shown). The operating system provides an interface between the software applications being executed on the system and the hardware components of the system. Any suitable operating system may be used, such as the LINUX Operating System, the Apple Macintosh Operating System, available from Apple Computer Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., UNIX operating systems, Microsoft (r) Windows(r) operating systems, BSD operating systems, and the like. Of course, other implementations are possible. For example, the functions described herein may be implemented in firmware or on an application specific integrated circuit.
  • [0043]
    Furthermore, the above-described elements and operations can be comprised of instructions that are stored on non-transitory storage media. The instructions can be retrieved and executed by a processing system. Some examples of instructions are software, program code, and firmware. Some examples of non-transitory storage media are memory devices, tape, disks, integrated circuits, and servers. The instructions are operational when executed by the processing system to direct the processing system to operate in accord with the invention. The term “processing system” refers to a single processing device or a group of inter-operational processing devices. Some examples of processing devices are integrated circuits and logic circuitry. Those skilled in the art are familiar with instructions, computers, and storage media.
  • Miscellaneous
  • [0044]
    One or more features from any embodiment may be combined with one or more features of any other embodiment without departing from the scope of the disclosure.
  • [0045]
    A recitation of “a”, “an,” or “the” is intended to mean “one or more” unless specifically indicated to the contrary.
  • [0046]
    The present disclosure encompasses all changes, substitutions, variations, alterations, and modifications to the example embodiments herein that a person having ordinary skill in the art would comprehend. Similarly, where appropriate, the appended claims encompass all changes, substitutions, variations, alterations, and modifications to the example embodiments herein that a person having ordinary skill in the art would comprehend.
  • [0047]
    For example, the processes described herein may be implemented using hardware components, software components, and/or any combination thereof. By way of example, while embodiments of the present disclosure have been described as operating in connection with a networking website, various embodiments of the present disclosure can be used in connection with any communications facility that supports web applications. Furthermore, in some embodiments the term “web service” and “website” may be used interchangeably and additionally may refer to a custom or generalized API on a device, such as a mobile device (e.g., cellular phone, smart phone, personal GPS, personal digital assistance, personal gaming device, etc.), that makes API calls directly to a server. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereunto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the disclosure as set forth in the claims and that the disclosure is intended to cover all modifications and equivalents within the scope of the following claims.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5956038 *Jul 11, 1996Sep 21, 1999Sony CorporationThree-dimensional virtual reality space sharing method and system, an information recording medium and method, an information transmission medium and method, an information processing method, a client terminal, and a shared server terminal
US6119229 *Apr 11, 1997Sep 12, 2000The Brodia GroupVirtual property system
US6229533 *Aug 2, 1996May 8, 2001Fujitsu LimitedGhost object for a virtual world
US6273820 *Jun 22, 1999Aug 14, 2001Haste, Iii Thomas E.Virtual player gaming method
US6302793 *Jul 2, 1998Oct 16, 2001Station Casinos, Inc.Multi-property player tracking system
US6416413 *May 20, 1999Jul 9, 2002Axle Linkage Labo Inc.Electronic chip circulation method, electronic chip circulation server apparatus and electronic chips circulation system
US6476830 *Aug 2, 1996Nov 5, 2002Fujitsu Software CorporationVirtual objects for building a community in a virtual world
US7025674 *Dec 3, 2002Apr 11, 2006IgtMethod and apparatus for awarding and redeeming promotional points at an electronic game
US7128652 *Oct 13, 2000Oct 31, 2006Oneida Indian NationSystem, method, and article of manufacture for gaming from an off-site location
US7137883 *Sep 14, 2005Nov 21, 2006Falciglia Sr SalMethod and system for playing a poker matrix game
US7249139 *May 2, 2002Jul 24, 2007Accenture Global Services GmbhSecure virtual marketplace for virtual objects and services
US7291064 *Nov 15, 2002Nov 6, 2007Konami CorporationGame program and game apparatus
US7387571 *Jun 7, 2006Jun 17, 2008Walker Digital, LlcMethod and apparatus for linked play gaming
US7390264 *Aug 30, 2002Jun 24, 2008Walker Digital, LlcMethod and system to incorporate game play into product transactions
US7455586 *Sep 21, 2004Nov 25, 2008IgtMethod and system for gaming and brand association
US7677973 *Apr 17, 2006Mar 16, 2010Leviathan Entertainment, LlcSecuring virtual contracts with credit
US8192267 *Jul 3, 2008Jun 5, 2012Patent Investment & Licensing CompanyShared game play on gaming device
US20020119817 *Feb 27, 2001Aug 29, 2002Behm William F.System and method for selling lottery game tickets
US20040006531 *Jul 3, 2003Jan 8, 2004Kwan Khai HeeSystem and method for conducting an electronic financial asset deposit auction over computer network
US20040204233 *Jan 27, 2004Oct 14, 2004Saffari Mohammad AliGaming device having a cash out menu screen and a system and method for enabling a player to retrieve money from a gaming device
US20070087831 *Apr 27, 2006Apr 19, 2007Van Luchene Andrew SMultiple Purchase Options for Virtual Purchases
US20070233585 *Mar 13, 2007Oct 4, 2007Tal David Ben SimonDevice, system and method of interactive gaming and investing
US20080026666 *Sep 14, 2007Jan 31, 2008GanzSystem and method for toy adoption marketing
US20080040297 *Oct 26, 2007Feb 14, 2008GanzSystem and method for toy adoption marketing
US20080086759 *Oct 10, 2006Apr 10, 2008Colson Christen JVerification and authentication systems and methods
US20080113773 *Aug 30, 2007May 15, 2008Sam JohnsonMethod and system for paragame activity at electronic gaming machine
US20080146342 *Dec 19, 2006Jun 19, 2008Electronic Arts, Inc.Live hosted online multiplayer game
US20080207327 *Feb 20, 2007Aug 28, 2008Leviathan Entertainment, LlcVirtual Environment with Alerts
US20090221367 *Dec 21, 2006Sep 3, 2009Pkr LimitedOn-line gaming
US20100004053 *Jul 3, 2008Jan 7, 2010Acres-Fiore, Inc.Method and apparatus for facilitating wagering by multiple players of gaming machines
US20100248823 *Oct 16, 2009Sep 30, 2010Smith Darren CSystem and method for downloadinng video game programs
US20110151976 *Apr 20, 2010Jun 23, 2011Face It Applications LLCRole Based Game Play on a Social Network
US20110183749 *Sep 30, 2009Jul 28, 2011Wms Gaming, Inc.In-casino to online casino interactivity
US20110207525 *Oct 14, 2009Aug 25, 2011Allen Jeffrey LGaming System Having Virtual Assets and Achievements
US20110319169 *Jun 24, 2010Dec 29, 2011Zynga Game Network, Inc.Mobile Device Interface for Online Games
Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *Dredge, Stuart. "Ujogo launches Facebook poker game... with real prizes". January 21, 2008.
2 *Shukla, Anu. "Beyond Facebook Gifts: Virtual Currencies 101". December 18, 2008.
3 *Smith, Justin. "Facebook Exchanges Dollars for Virtual Credits, Eyes Expanding Virtual Gifts Revenues". November 2, 2008. <http://www.insidefacebook.com/2008/11/02/facebook-exchanges-dollars-for-virtual-credits-eyes-expanding-virtual-gifts-revenues/>
4 *TripleJack. Dec 2006.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8133116 *Sep 26, 2011Mar 13, 2012Zynga Inc.Social supply harvest mechanic for interactive social games
US8137193 *Sep 26, 2011Mar 20, 2012Zynga Inc.Supply delivery for interactive social games
US8137194 *Sep 26, 2011Mar 20, 2012Zynga Inc.Supply delivery for interactive social games
US8267315 *May 24, 2012Sep 18, 2012Mcghie Sean IExchange of non-negotiable credits for entity independent funds
US8272956 *Nov 16, 2010Sep 25, 2012Zynga Inc.Social supply harvest mechanic for interactive social games
US8282491Sep 26, 2011Oct 9, 2012Zynga Inc.Game-based incentives for location-based actions
US8287383Sep 26, 2011Oct 16, 2012Zynga Inc.Changing virtual items based on real-world events
US8287384Sep 26, 2011Oct 16, 2012Zynga Inc.Game-based incentives for location-based actions
US8292743Jun 30, 2011Oct 23, 2012Zynga Inc.Changing virtual items based on location-based actions
US8297502Jun 25, 2012Oct 30, 2012Mcghie Sean IUser interface for the exchange of non-negotiable credits for entity independent funds
US8313023Jun 25, 2012Nov 20, 2012Mcghie Sean IExchange of non-negotiable credits of an entity's rewards program for entity independent funds
US8342399Jul 5, 2012Jan 1, 2013Mcghie Sean IConversion of credits to funds
US8348768Sep 26, 2011Jan 8, 2013Zynga Inc.Game-based incentives for location-based actions
US8376224Jun 24, 2011Feb 19, 2013Sean I. McghieSelf-service stations for utilizing non-negotiable credits earned from a game of chance
US8388451Sep 26, 2011Mar 5, 2013Zynga Inc.Game-based incentives for location-based actions
US8388452Sep 26, 2011Mar 5, 2013Zynga Inc.Game-based incentives for location-based actions
US8444491 *Sep 26, 2011May 21, 2013Zynga Inc.Clan wars
US8454441Aug 13, 2010Jun 4, 2013Zynga Inc.Game-based incentives for location-based actions
US8491395Jun 30, 2011Jul 23, 2013Zynga Inc.Game-based incentives for location-based actions
US8491396Sep 4, 2012Jul 23, 2013Zynga Inc.Game supply delivery systems and methods
US8496532 *Jun 30, 2011Jul 30, 2013Zynga Inc.Clan wars
US8506409 *Sep 25, 2011Aug 13, 2013Zynga Inc.Clan wars
US8511550Apr 16, 2013Aug 20, 2013Sean I. McghieGraphical user interface for the conversion of loyalty points via a loyalty point website
US8523063Apr 16, 2013Sep 3, 2013Sean I. McghieConversion operations of non-negotiable credits to funds between an entity and a commerce partner
US8523064May 21, 2013Sep 3, 2013Brian K. BuchheitGraphical user interface for the conversion of loyalty points for services
US8540152May 23, 2013Sep 24, 2013Brian K. BuchheitConversion operations for loyalty points of different programs redeemable for services
US8556719Jun 30, 2011Oct 15, 2013Zynga Inc.Linking virtual items to real-world items
US8574076Sep 26, 2011Nov 5, 2013Zynga Inc.Updating virtual worlds based on interactions between real-world items
US8595091Oct 24, 2012Nov 26, 2013Kabam, Inc.System and method for gifting virtual currency within a virtual space of a social network
US8608570 *Jun 30, 2011Dec 17, 2013Zynga Inc.Enabling game features based on location-based actions
US8615449Apr 26, 2012Dec 24, 2013Kabam, Inc.System and method for gifting virtual items within a virtual space of a social network
US8668146Nov 20, 2012Mar 11, 2014Sean I. McghieRewards program with payment artifact permitting conversion/transfer of non-negotiable credits to entity independent funds
US8682742Apr 30, 2012Mar 25, 2014Zotobi Management Ltd.System and method for enabling users to purchase in-game content for each other
US8684265Nov 20, 2012Apr 1, 2014Sean I. McghieRewards program website permitting conversion/transfer of non-negotiable credits to entity independent funds
US8727887 *Sep 26, 2011May 20, 2014Zynga Inc.Enabling users to transfer virtual items based on their locations
US8758119Oct 20, 2011Jun 24, 2014Zynga Inc.Asset transfers between interactive social games
US8763901Aug 19, 2013Jul 1, 2014Sean I. McghieCross marketing between an entity's loyalty point program and a different loyalty program of a commerce partner
US8783563Aug 19, 2013Jul 22, 2014Sean I. McghieConversion of loyalty points for gaming to a different loyalty point program for services
US8789752Sep 12, 2013Jul 29, 2014Sean I. McghieConversion/transfer of in-game credits to entity independent or negotiable funds
US8790183 *Feb 15, 2012Jul 29, 2014GanzArcade in a virtual world with reward
US8794518Aug 19, 2013Aug 5, 2014Sean I. McghieConversion of loyalty points for a financial institution to a different loyalty point program for services
US8795071Aug 13, 2012Aug 5, 2014Milestone Entertainment LlcApparatus, systems and methods for implementing enhanced gaming and prizing parameters in an electronic environment
US8807427Sep 12, 2013Aug 19, 2014Sean I. McghieConversion/transfer of non-negotiable credits to in-game funds for in-game purchases
US8812356Jun 30, 2011Aug 19, 2014Zynga Inc.Voting with your feet
US8814662 *Feb 10, 2012Aug 26, 2014Zynga Inc.Value icon to award virtual currency in a virtual game
US8833650Sep 23, 2013Sep 16, 2014Sean I. McghieOnline shopping sites for redeeming loyalty points
US8858338Sep 26, 2011Oct 14, 2014Zynga Inc.Integrating client devices into a game networking system
US8874466Sep 26, 2011Oct 28, 2014Zynga Inc.Dynamically sizing incentive rewards for location-based actions by groups
US8917854Jan 8, 2013Dec 23, 2014Xerox CorporationSystem to support contextualized definitions of competitions in call centers
US8944320Jun 25, 2014Feb 3, 2015Sean I. McghieConversion/transfer of non-negotiable credits to in-game funds for in-game purchases
US8944910Mar 8, 2013Feb 3, 2015Joingo, LlcMethod and system for secure play in a mobile virtual casino
US8950669Jun 25, 2014Feb 10, 2015Sean I. McghieConversion of non-negotiable credits to entity independent funds
US8973821Jun 25, 2014Mar 10, 2015Sean I. McghieConversion/transfer of non-negotiable credits to entity independent funds
US9033803Oct 15, 2012May 19, 2015Zynga Inc.Changing a virtual world based on real-world locations of players
US9039508 *Mar 11, 2014May 26, 2015Gamblit Gaming, LlcMulti-mode multi-jurisdiction skill wagering interleaved game
US9098874Nov 4, 2013Aug 4, 2015Kabam, Inc.System and method of determining view information of an instance of an online game executed on an online game server
US9208465Dec 1, 2011Dec 8, 2015Xerox CorporationSystem and method for enhancing call center performance
US9220985Jun 30, 2011Dec 29, 2015Zynga Inc.Providing virtual items based on location-based actions
US9278282Sep 17, 2013Mar 8, 2016King.Com LimitedMethod for implementing a computer game
US9289684Sep 17, 2013Mar 22, 2016King.Com Ltd.Method for implementing a computer game
US9320967Sep 17, 2013Apr 26, 2016King.Com Ltd.Method for implementing a computer game
US9345965Sep 17, 2013May 24, 2016King.Com Ltd.Method for implementing a computer game
US9345973 *Aug 5, 2011May 24, 2016Bally Gaming, Inc.Controlling wagering game system browser areas
US9355404Sep 26, 2011May 31, 2016Zynga Inc.Voting with your feet
US9364744 *Jul 8, 2013Jun 14, 2016Zynga Inc.Game-based incentives for location-based actions
US9387400Sep 17, 2013Jul 12, 2016King.Com Ltd.System and method for playing games that require skill
US9387401Sep 17, 2013Jul 12, 2016King.Com Ltd.Method for implementing a computer game
US9387403May 20, 2014Jul 12, 2016Zynga Inc.Asset transfers between interactive social games
US9399168Sep 17, 2013Jul 26, 2016King.Com Ltd.Method for implementing a computer game
US9403092Sep 17, 2013Aug 2, 2016King.Com Ltd.Method for implementing a computer game
US9409089Sep 17, 2013Aug 9, 2016King.Com Ltd.Method for implementing a computer game
US9452356Jun 30, 2014Sep 27, 2016Kabam, Inc.System and method for providing virtual items to users of a virtual space
US9463376Jun 14, 2013Oct 11, 2016Kabam, Inc.Method and system for temporarily incentivizing user participation in a game space
US9463386 *Apr 30, 2012Oct 11, 2016Zynga Inc.State machine scripting in computer-implemented games
US9468851Feb 19, 2015Oct 18, 2016Kabam, Inc.System and method for providing dynamic and static contest prize allocation based on in-game achievement of a user
US9492734Apr 14, 2015Nov 15, 2016Boulding Blocks LLCMulti-dimensional puzzle
US9508222Jan 24, 2014Nov 29, 2016Kabam, Inc.Customized chance-based items
US9508225Feb 14, 2013Nov 29, 2016Milestone Entertainment LlcMethods and apparatus for enhanced interactive game play in lottery and gaming environments
US9526982Sep 17, 2013Dec 27, 2016King.Com Ltd.Method for implementing a computer game
US9539502Jun 30, 2014Jan 10, 2017Kabam, Inc.Method and system for facilitating chance-based payment for items in a game
US9561433Aug 8, 2013Feb 7, 2017Kabam, Inc.Providing event rewards to players in an online game
US9561437Sep 17, 2013Feb 7, 2017King.Com Ltd.Method for implementing a computer game
US9569931Jul 14, 2014Feb 14, 2017Kabam, Inc.Incentivized task completion using chance-based awards
US9579564Jun 30, 2014Feb 28, 2017Kabam, Inc.Double or nothing virtual containers
US9579569Sep 17, 2013Feb 28, 2017King.Com Ltd.Method for implementing a computer game
US9592441Feb 19, 2014Mar 14, 2017King.Com Ltd.Controlling a user interface of a computer device
US9592444Sep 17, 2013Mar 14, 2017King.Com Ltd.Method for implementing a computer game
US9619959Dec 13, 2013Apr 11, 2017Bally Gaming, Inc.Wagering game presentation with multiple technology containers in a web browser
US9623320Jul 14, 2014Apr 18, 2017Kabam, Inc.System and method for granting in-game bonuses to a user
US9626689Jun 30, 2011Apr 18, 2017Zynga Inc.Incentivizing location-based actions by groups
US9649566Nov 1, 2013May 16, 2017Zynga Inc.Updating virtual worlds based on interactions between real-world items
US9665915Jul 17, 2015May 30, 2017Kabam, Inc.System and method for facilitating virtual goods gifting
US9669313Aug 26, 2016Jun 6, 2017Kabam, Inc.System and method for providing dynamic and static contest prize allocation based on in-game achievement of a user
US9669315Apr 3, 2015Jun 6, 2017Kabam, Inc.Providing leaderboard based upon in-game events
US9669316Aug 25, 2016Jun 6, 2017Kabam, Inc.System and method for providing virtual items to users of a virtual space
US9669318May 18, 2015Jun 6, 2017Zynga Inc.Changing a virtual world based on real-world locations of players
US9672691Apr 19, 2016Jun 6, 2017Bally Gaming, Inc.Controlling wagering game system browser areas
US20110271208 *Apr 30, 2010Nov 3, 2011American Teleconferencing Services Ltd.Location-Aware Conferencing With Entertainment Options
US20120122587 *Nov 16, 2010May 17, 2012Zynga Game Network, Inc.Social Supply Harvest Mechanic for Interactive Social Games
US20120123924 *Oct 20, 2011May 17, 2012Mark RoseVirtual currency configuration apparatuses, methods and systems
US20120178527 *Jan 6, 2012Jul 12, 2012Brian KaskieRecognition game and methods thereof
US20120208624 *Feb 15, 2012Aug 16, 2012GanzArcade in a virtual wolrd with reward
US20120209908 *Feb 15, 2011Aug 16, 2012Terry AngelosDynamically serving content to social network members
US20130005473 *Sep 25, 2011Jan 3, 2013Zynga Inc.Clan wars
US20130005475 *Sep 26, 2011Jan 3, 2013Amitt MahajanEnabling users to transfer virtual items based on their locations
US20130191194 *Aug 31, 2012Jul 25, 2013Sammy ShreibatiMethod for incentivizing financial saving and effecting a financial behavior change
US20130237312 *Oct 10, 2012Sep 12, 2013Paltronics, Inc.Gaming system, controller and method
US20130296042 *Jul 8, 2013Nov 7, 2013Zynga Inc.Game-based incentives for location-based actions
US20140108962 *Oct 17, 2012Apr 17, 2014Evgeny OlomskiySystem and method for presenting information related to an entity in a virtual space
US20140349743 *Aug 11, 2014Nov 27, 2014Zynga Inc.Value icon to award virtual currency in a virtual game
US20150094150 *Nov 1, 2013Apr 2, 2015Zynga Inc.Operation of a browser-incompatible application within a browser
US20150148122 *Mar 11, 2014May 28, 2015Gamblit Gaming, LlcMulti-mode multi-jurisdiction skill wagering interleaved game
USD759691 *Dec 2, 2014Jun 21, 2016Zynga Inc.Portion of display screen with graphical user interface
USD770529Dec 2, 2014Nov 1, 2016Zynga Inc.Portion of display screen having graphical user interface with transitional icon
WO2012112503A1 *Feb 14, 2012Aug 23, 2012Trialpay, Inc.Dynamically serving content to social network members
WO2014167129A1 *Apr 11, 2014Oct 16, 2014King.Com LimitedComputer, device, system and methods therefor
WO2014195506A1 *Jun 6, 2014Dec 11, 2014King.Com LimitedComputing device, game, and methods therefor
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/25
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3272, G07F17/32, G07F17/3281
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32M8F, G07F17/32M8
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 3, 2010ASAssignment
Owner name: ZYNGA GAME NETWORK, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LUXTON, MICHAEL ARIEH;OCKO, MATTHEW ADAM;PINCUS, MARK JONATHAN;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20100226 TO 20100302;REEL/FRAME:024021/0478
Oct 12, 2011ASAssignment
Owner name: ZYNGA INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:ZYNGA GAME NETWORK INC.;REEL/FRAME:027048/0407
Effective date: 20101117